Tech is not automatically great in the classroom

April 29, 2019 — by Michael Zhang

Technology becoming more and more common in classrooms as teachers employ iPads, laptops, document cameras and many more in their lessons., but this should be done with caution.

Too often such technology can serve as a distraction, create opportunities for technical difficulties and is expensive.

For instance, there are many online games, such as surviv.io, that can be easily accessed and played by students during class time. While better website blockers could help remedy this problem a little, students will likely find a way around them. These methods include using alternative sites, like surviv2.io or unblocked sites in which the game is embedded. The existence of YouTube, Reddit and social media as well means that students will have no problem finding something other than classwork to do unless a teacher is standing immediately over their shoulder.

Furthermore, technology can detract from students’ learning by providing shortcuts through the internet. By allowing easy access to technology during school time, students will have more chances to access sites like Slader and SparkNotes that give answers directly instead of actually investing time to learn the course material.

Introducing technology also increases the odds of having technical difficulties occur during class. While these problems may be rare, they can destroy whole lesson plans.

Adding to the difficulties with a tech-focused curriculum is that up-to-date technology is expensive. Instead of buying every student a personal iPad, for example, schools could use the money for new textbooks, workbooks, or other useful materials. In lower-income school districts, savings from not purchasing technology is especially beneficial, as the extra money could be put toward basic necessities, such as pencils, erasers and paper, that some students might not be able to afford.

Furthermore, this cost is only exacerbated by the rapid development of technology. Many computers from five years ago are considered slow by today’s standard, and modern software requires newer hardware as well.

All of this is not to say that the use technology in the classroom is bad or should end. In classes that actually require technology, such as AP Computer Science, the use of school laptops or computers is completely justified because they are a fundamental part of the course. But aside from these exceptions, cutting-edge technology may not be as necessary as most educators seem to think.

All in all, while there are ways for technology to enhance students’ education, technology in school is more detrimental than beneficial. Even as technology becomes more widespread in the rest of society, and schools should reconsider before hopping on the bandwagon.

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